In today’s online world chock-full of destination photos, videos and immersive experiences – not to mention real-time reviews – is it any wonder why planners shy away from Familiarization (FAM) trips? While it’s true these excursions take time, there’s nothing quite like seeing a venue, experiencing its amenities and tasting its food.
FAM trips are still relevant, but like everything else in the planning industry, their focus has changed.
The next time you’re invited to one, ask the following of yourself and the venue before booking your flight and committing to a couple of days out of the office.
Why Go There? Why Go Now?
These are vital questions to ask. If you:
- Are planning a series of meetings, conventions and trade shows in the next two years
- Haven’t been to the hotel and convention center you’re seriously considering or haven’t been there since several improvements were made to it
a FAM trip is in order. This should occur before you issue an RFP, as it’s different than a site visit.
However, if you have no large meetings on the horizon, the destination isn’t somewhere your association or organization is interested in or you have toured the facility in the last 12 months, then there isn’t a valid reason to attend.
Six Key Elements of a Successful FAM Trip
1. Self-guided tours baked in.
While most hotel sales directors want to take you everywhere and do most of the talking, make sure you have ample time to explore the facility on your own. Request a map that highlights the important features of the property before you embark on your journey.
2. Digital information and sharing fostered.
During your stay, contributing on social media should be both encouraged and easy. It should be delivered on a real-time basis.
A valuable venue itinerary includes:
- Its name, address and phone number
- A brief description of the property
- Its website
- The sales contact, cell number and email address
- All social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn
- Its social hashtag (e.g., #LoveKalahari)
- Names, emails and social handles of other FAM participants
3. Authentic experiences, delivered.
Have choices. Do as many things you think your attendees will partake in. For example:
- Don’t just see the waterpark, enjoy it.
- Don’t pass by the arcade, play games in it.
- Pamper yourself with a spa treatment.
By setting a slower pace, you can dive deep into the amenity and find out for yourself what makes the location unique.
Your work never stops, even when you’re away from the office. A venue that offers mobile charging stations, beverages and snacks, plus the ability to plug into work for one or two hours, is much appreciated.
5. Lunch or dinner with the general manager or owner.
Many FAM trips have only a few moments scheduled with these individuals. Wouldn’t it be nice to sit down for a meal and spend some quality time with the person running the establishment? This is what you and your colleagues are looking for – an intimate look into the venue’s leadership.
6. F&B samples.
Taste as many items as you can. Try different cocktails, appetizers and entrees and record your impressions from the presentation, delivery and taste perspective.
Kalahari Resorts and Conventions Is Happy to Host Your Next FAM Trip
Call one of our seasoned group sales professionals at 855.411.4605 to schedule a visit to our property in Ohio, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin. We’re the agile, flexible supplier you want to work with, delivering the experiences your attendees are looking for!